February 17, 2020, Westport, CT – The Westport Library is pleased to announce the launch of Westport Book Sale Ventures, a new entity with a dual mission to raise funds to support the Westport Library through book sales while providing meaningful employment for adults with disabilities. Starting in the Spring of 2020, the Westport Library’s book sales will be operated by Westport Book Sale Ventures, Inc., an independent 501(c)(3) non-proﬁt.
“The Library book sales are a beloved community tradition that provide essential support for Library programming. The sales are powered by a dedicated team of volunteers and tens of thousands of book donations from our generous community,” said Library Executive Director Bill Harmer. “Facilitating meaningful employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities is squarely aligned with the Library’s mission to strengthen our community, motivate engagement and serve diverse constituencies, and we are incredibly proud to launch this new initiative.”
The new venture is being coordinated by Jocelyn Barandiaran, Sharuna Mahesh, and Linda Monteiro-Hopper, three Westport residents with a passion for the Westport Library and the expanded book sale mission, with expert guidance from Mimi Greenlee and Dick Lowenstein, who have been at the helm of the Westport Library book sale effort for the past two decades.
“The unemployment rate for Americans with disabilities is twice as high as the rate for people with no disabilities. For many young adults with disabilities, there is a signiﬁcant gap following high school, when individuals no longer have the support of the public education system’s transition services, and their social networks disburse. It is our hope that this new venture will provide transferable job skills, and opportunities for community engagement, and to motivate our community and our businesses to be ever more inclusive of people with disabilities,” said Jocelyn Barandiaran.
The Annex, which was installed in the Library’s Upper (Levitt) ParkingLot for receiving book donations will continue to function in the same way. During the Transformation Project, book donations were being accepted in the temporary construction trailer on Jesup Green. The experience of “drive-up, drop-off” was so positive for patrons, staff and volunteers, that the Library constructed a permanent annex to be a home for accepting and processing book donations that support the Library’s book sales. Donations may be made at the Annex at any time during the Library’s operating hours.
The first Book Sale Event which will be managed by the new venture is scheduled for Friday, March 13 through Sunday, March 15, and will be held in the main Forum of the Westport Library. To learn more about Westport Book Sale Ventures and ways to support the mission, please visit: www.westportbooksales.org